One of our only gripes with Sony’s super-powered MMO when it launched a year ago was how quickly players could reach the level cap. From launch day it took roughly a week and a half for me to hit 30 with my first character and, as echoed in TSA’s review, it left me slightly lost and bewildered, as if I had “beaten” the game.
Of course I was 100% wrong, DC Universe Online has bags of “endgame” content for players to explore, though making the transition into this elite tier of gameplay will likely be enough to ward away even the most battle-worn heroes and villains; and that’s saying nothing of the new free-to-play generation, where it seems likely that many will not have any MMO endgame experience whatsoever.
So, for those of you who have the endgame in sight but wish for some further insight, we’ve worked up a handy guide to some of the key things you need to know. In today’s lesson we cover knowing your role when tackling an instance. You’ll be going up against these in a team, so it’s important to know just what you need to be doing to ensure success.
If you’ve already taken part in one of DCUO’s in-game instances such as Oolong Island, the HIVE Moonbase or Area 51, the concept of “roles” may already be familiar to you. However, upon reaching level 30 it becomes more than a temporary preference of playstyle, your role will dictate your position within and responsibilities on a team as well as which stats you need to focus on and the appropriate loot to hunt for.
Each of the game’s eight power types (Fire, Ice, Mental, Sorcery, Nature, Gadgets, Light, Electric) can branch into two pre-determined roles, one of which will always be Damage. It’s by far the easiest role to adopt and requires very little change in playstyle following your exploits around Gotham and Metropolis.
As the name suggests, your team will rely on you to dish out the damage, preferably on the bigger, high-risk targets. In terms of stats, Damage players should dedicate themselves to either Precision (weapon damage) or Might (ability damage) with Health (HP) or Power (mana) as a secondary, though a combination will also work just fine.[drop]The Tank role requires a different approach, though bears some similarities to Damage. As a Tank your duty is attract the attention of enemy “mobs”, essentially acting as a punch-bag whilst the more damage-focused characters pick them off. This is done using an array of threat-heavy, AoE attacks that should reel in any stragglers who try to take a punt at the more fragile members of your team.
As the anchor of the group, the Tank needs to focus on Health, also keeping an eye on Might to ensure that abilities produce enough aggro to keep all eyes on him/her. Entering an Instance without a Tank is nothing to get too worried about; two or more Damage-centric characters with moderate amounts of health can easily stand in as a substitute, though there is a risk of being overrun.
Arguably the most crucial member of any group is the Healer. Combat-savvy teams can scrape through Instances using just their supplies, but without even an amateur Healer bringing up the rear there will always be a possibility of failure.
Being a Healer requires the biggest change in playstyle, having to monitor your group’s health bars and shy away from conflict whilst also dealing with reckless players. Without total control over which team mates are targeted by your powers and where your AoE (area of effect) healing abilities are positioned, it’s not an easy role to pursue, and given the lack of capabilities when it comes to lv.30+ solo play, it’s easy to see why Healers are in such high demand.
Obviously the stat you want to beef up the most is Restoration which will increase the potency of your abilities, with Health also being a wise choice; from time to time it’s likely that you will get whaled on by mobs or caught out with powerful boss attacks. If you’re the most health-deficient member of your team, then it’s likely that you will be the first one to hit the floor, and without a Healer your team may as well call it a day.
Another uncommon class is the Controller, who is also the most reliant on power consumption. Using an array of abilities, it is the Controller’s task to incapacitate and de-buff enemies whilst also topping up ally’s power meters. DCUO’s real-time physics allows Controllers to trap/encase their targets which will (depending on the applied ability) momentarily turn them into an object which can then be thrown or weaponized.
De-buffs are also important though not essential, Controllers being able to reduce enemy defences, restoration and other stats to tip the scales. As mentioned before they also stand in as a “mana battery” for the rest of the team, feeding a constant stock of energy which is much-needed to enable damage-centric abilities and healing.
That’s it on how to pick out and play your role when you’re working your way through an instance. We’ll be back soon with a look at how to accessorise your character effectively. It’s not just about fashion, picking out the right gear is important if you want to succeed in the world after 30.